APMA News - September/October 2017 - 42

Federal Advocacy Forum
By Patrick A. DeHeer, DPM

It's Crunch Time!
It's crunch time! It is fourth and goal with the ball on the
one-yard line and three seconds left on the clock, and we are
down by six points. We need a touchdown and the extra point
for the win. The VA Provider Equity Act (HR 1058) has passed
the US House of Representatives, and now its fate rests in the
Senate. Podiatrists nationwide must mobilize a grassroots campaign to ensure passage of the bill.
The VA Provider Equity Act and the Helping Ensure Lifeand Limb-Saving Access to Podiatric Physicians (HELLPP) Act
apply directly to all podiatrists, regardless of whether they
work in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) or provide
care for Medicaid patients. These bills are integral to the larger
goal of ending discrimination against podiatrists by insurance

Direct contact with legislators
is the most effective method of
grassroots activism. Constituents
can call both the local office
and the Washington, DC,
office of their legislators.
companies, states, hospitals, and others. This long-standing
discrimination is based on the inconsistent classification of
podiatric physicians by the federal government under the definition of "physician" used in federal statutes. In addition to
supporting our colleagues serving in the VA system and caring
for the Medicaid population, passage of these bills will help
ensure the future of podiatric medicine and surgery despite
the uncertainty of today's health-care world.
Direct contact with legislators is the most effective method
of grassroots activism. Constituents can call both the local office and the Washington, DC, office of their legislators. When
a constituent calls an office and makes a specific request, the
member of Congress will take notice, especially when numerous constituents call with a unified message and request. I
have detailed previously what APMA calls the "Oregon Calling
Method" to contact a member of Congress regarding a specific
request for support of our VA bill. A detailed review of the
"Oregon Calling Method" appears on the facing page.
Calling your legislators' DC offices will get you in touch
with the correct legislative aide (health care, veterans' affairs,
etc.). Speak directly with the aide instead of leaving a message. If you leave a message but do not receive a call back
42 APMA News September/October 2017

within a reasonable period (two to three days), call the office
again. Once the correct congressional aide is on the phone with
you, it is important to be polite but firm. Remember-the member of Congress works for you! Make the request to the aide that
the legislator show support for the VA Provider Equity Act by
cosponsoring the bill. Depending on the aide's answer, the
flowchart strategy divides into two paths.

The "Yes" Response (Red End Point)
If the member of Congress agrees to the request, thank the
aide and inform the APMA Legislative Advocacy department
(advocacy@apma.org). The Legislative Advocacy department
will verify the cosponsorship and confirm it with you. It is important then to send the member of Congress and congressional
aide a thank-you email or even a handwritten thank-you note.

The "No" Response
If the member of Congress replies in the negative, it is
critical to ask why. Common reasons include:
1. The member of Congress is a chair or ranking member of
a committee with jurisdiction over health-care issues and
usually does not cosponsor bills. Ask the aide if his or her
boss is willing to vote in favor of the bill if it comes up for
a vote. If the response is positive, then proceed with the
above "Yes" answer method. If the answer is negative,
then proceed with the "Definitive No" answer on the facing page.
2. The member of Congress has a procedure the office follows to evaluate requests. In this case, ask for the process. Suggest a time you could follow up by phone. Be
specific about when you plan to call back (e.g., one or
two weeks). Make the follow-up call in the agreed-upon period and request an answer. Follow the "Yes" or
"Definitive No" instructions.
3. The member has a specific objection to something in the
bill. Once you have identified the objection, ask if you
can provide further information and whether this answer
would allow the member of Congress to agree to the request. Then contact the APMA Legislative Advocacy department for the required information. Communicate
with the office of the member of Congress again to provide the information and ask if the representative or sen-



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of APMA News - September/October 2017

Contents
APMA News - September/October 2017 - Cover1
APMA News - September/October 2017 - Cover2
APMA News - September/October 2017 - 3
APMA News - September/October 2017 - 4
APMA News - September/October 2017 - 5
APMA News - September/October 2017 - 6
APMA News - September/October 2017 - 7
APMA News - September/October 2017 - Contents
APMA News - September/October 2017 - 9
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APMA News - September/October 2017 - Cover3
APMA News - September/October 2017 - Cover4
APMA News - September/October 2017 - S1
APMA News - September/October 2017 - S2
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